Recently I've been getting almost daily calls from telemarketers offering me mainly insurance or cellphone contract upgrades. Despite asking to be removed from their lists, the calls have persisted.

There are four types of prospects for telemarketers:

1. Impressionables : People who will buy the product because they were called (and wouldn't have otherwise);

2. Customers: People who would have bought the product whether they were called or not;

3. Indifferents: People who won't buy the product whether they were called or not; and

4.  Boycotters: People who will decide NOT to buy the product BECAUSE they were called.

Out of the four types, telemarketers only gain from calling Impressionables - they waste time and money on the rest.

Unless I've specifically asked a company to call me, I'm a number 4 - a Boycotter. Unsolicited telemarketing, like all spam,  is abhorrent to me.  So not only is it a waste of time calling me, but it's actually counter-productive for the companies concerned.

However, in SA the responsibility is currently on the consumer to somehow get removed from these call lists. You're supposed to go here (DMASA website - nothing there) or here to opt out.  Unfortunately, as Andrew Rens has pointed out: Opting out of Direct Marketing in South Africa Doesn't Work.

Telemarketing is a numbers game though, so it hardly matters to the call-centre agent whether one customer is peeved about them doing their job - if they contact enough people in a day, they're sure to make a couple of sales. This is why they don't seem to respond to requests to be removed from their lists - there's no incentive for them to do so.

If telesales is not to be banned, then companies who practice it need to start responding to complaints themselves, and adapt their databases, offers, incentives and calls accordingly.

Art with a HeartAnother cool initiative by Platypus Productions:
Art with Heart provides those ‘frustrated’ artists working in the advertising, marketing and production industries with the opportunity to create personal artwork in various media and have these exhibited at an annual exhibition where clients and colleagues can discover their other creative sides. All the works will be for sale and the proceeds will be donated to charity.

You can submit Photography, Sculpture, Painting, Knitting, or whatever. And some of the top people in the industry have already signed up to submit. I expect Kirby and Max will be making excellent submissions too:)

Jill and Stanley from Platypus have asked me to put out a request for someone to create and manage a blog for this project. I think it's gonna be quite a good networking opportunity, possibly for a student looking to get involved in Marketing or Advertising. It will run until November. Please mail me if you're interested.
AuthorDave Duarte
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Patricia De Lille blogPatricia De Lille has denounced the freedom of bloggers, asking government to crack down on bloggers. This follows a bout blog of criticism targeted at ID colleague, Simon Grindrod.

IOL reports that she's even applying to use tax-payer's money for a National Intelligence Service investigation to track the blogger down.

Fortunately, we live in a free and democratic country where this will not get very far. Perhaps, as Angus points out, MP De Lille will find a more sympathic government in communist China or North Korea?

The point of citizen journalism, as opposed to regulated mainstream media is free and natural expression of ideas by ordinary people (i.e. voting constituents). If these issues with Grindrod are being raised online, people are probably talking about them in natural conversation too. She could gain alot more benefit by paying attention to what is being said, and possibly responding in a public forum to the issues that have been raised. This is the meaning of "join the conversation".

This is why your fellow parliamentarians Helen Zille and Ebrahim Rasool from the DA and ANC respectively have social-media profiles... And I congratulate them for that.
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Ubuntu is a sub-Saharan African ethic or humanist ideology focusing on people's allegiances and relations with each other.

The ideal of uBuntu is that the individual and the collective are inseparable. That the actions of one person have repercussions throughout the community. Sounds a bit like the blogosphere, huh?

One of my favourite quotes on the subject is by Desmond Tutu:
"A person with ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed".

Online user generated content is showing us that there is huge untapped wealth and potential to be harnessed in the collective intelligence of volunteer communities. Opensource developments are enabling people to gain access to tools and opportunities that were previously unattainable to them either due to financial constraints, time constraints or access to other people's skills.

Truly worldshifting technology and development is being built and distributed freely by collaborating with others.

Online cultural phenomena like Wikipedia, Muti and even SArocks are the digital embodiment of uBuntu.

If we are to believe that the internet is going to have a massive impact on the way future generations do business, then we we best believe that South Africa is well positioned to be at the nexus of the next wave of economic leadership - as long as we cherish the true spirit of uBuntu.
AuthorDave Duarte
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Ananzi, a South African search engine, has just announced it's top 10 searches for 2006 on BizCommunity.
Ananzi's Top Ten Keywords for 2006

1) Jobs
2) Property
3) Maps
4) Furniture
5) Chat
6) Google
7) Dating
8) Car hire
9) Accommodation
10) Sex

I thought it interesting to compare that with Google's top 10 for 2006:

Google's Top Ten Keywords for 2006:

1) Bebo
2) MySpace
3) World Cup

4) Metacafe
5) Radioblog
6) Wikipedia
7) Video
8) Rebelde
9) Mininova
10) Wiki

The South African Ananzi searches are more to do with practicalities such as finding a job, a house and furniture, whereas the primarily American Google searches are more socially oriented, with software applications, websites and entertainment dominating.

This is a clear reflection of the way internet is used in SA... We have slower, more expensive internet and low broadband penetration, so when the average South African is online he probably just wants to find what he has to and get the hell out before he incurs too much Telkom debt!

What else do you think the difference between these lists might indicate?

AuthorDave Duarte
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